Learning About Hope

Read Romans 5:1-6

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials for we know that they are good for us - they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady. Then, when that happens, we are able to hold our heads high no matter what happens and know that all is well, for we know how dearly God loves us, and we feel this warm love everywhere within us because God has given us the holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5: 3-5 (TLB)

Ralph Thompson, from Ohio, had a freak sporting accident at the age of 40, that caused a near fatal stroke. It led to extensive damage to his health that would haunt him for many years, Basic abilities he had previously taken for granted - standing without help, walking without tripping,dressing without assistance, drinking without choking, and speaking without slurring - were o longer natural. His senses of taste and smell were diminished.

Gradually, through prayer, support, and hard work, Ralph was able to rebuild his life. He found himself clinging to God more and more. Today's reading inspired Ralph to keep on hoping. Slowly, he returned to his career as a professional counselor and worked full-time for another 25 years. A friend recently asked Ralph what he learned about himself during recovery. Ralph told him that he came to like the "me" that emerged after the stroke. In his suffering, God taught him to nurture and maintain hope.

The apostle Paul, a man who knew suffering well, explains in today's quoted verse how suffering can lead to hope. Ralph has experienced the truth that God can help us create something very good out of something very bad. When we face any difficult situation, the truth of God's presence with us enables us to have hope.

Prayer: Dear God, help us feel your presence with us in difficult times. Guide us as we seek to nurture and maintain hope in you, in Jesus' name. Amen.

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